Blog Archive

Monday, December 5, 2011

Batik in the South Pacific

Since coming to Singapore in September, I've been learning a lot about batiks. Of course the internet is a great source of information, but there's nothing like seeing the fabrics before your eyes, and this region is the place for that. There are quite a few places in Sing
apore itself that sell the traditional Indonesian batik fabrics. The designs are quite complex and at one time were hand drawn and dyed using a wax-dye resist method. Most of these are now machine printed on cotton and are sold very reasonably to the mass market. Here are two patterns I've acquired here.

On a recent trip to the island of Langkawi, off the west coast of Malaysia, I had the opportunity to visit a batik workshop and see a different style of batik. This time the design was handdrawn onto cotton, outlined with wax, then handpainted before the fixative was added and the wax removed. You can see by the following photos the very different results from above. These are handkerchief-sized pieces which I purchased at the Pisang Arts and Handicrafts centre.
There are also batiks made by tie-dyeing and stamping, techniques I'm hoping to see when we go to Bali next week.

If you are a CQA member you can read more about the Langkawi visit in the spring edition of the Canadian Quilter.

With Christmas preparations in full swing here in Singapore, may I send my best wishes to each of my blog readers for a happy Christmas with all the blessings is can bring, and many happy quilting experiences in the New Year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Japanese Fans Photo

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Japanese Fans

Although most of my time in Singapore has been focused on our little grand-daughter, I've managed to do a little quilting. The picture shows the completed top for a wall-hanging which I call "Japanese Fans." I was given the centre panel as a gift last Christmas and decided to add the fan borders and do some quilting on it before I finish it. The fan blocks were machine-pieced and then appliqued to the backing squares. I will layer it and quilt it when I get back home in January.
I've also made a foray into Arab Street, which is a wonderful experience for anyone interested in textiles. The street is lined on both sides with shops, which sell mainly silks in gorgeous colours and for a quilter or anyone who loves vibrant colours, it is a real visual treat. I did find some cottons among the silks and other fabrics, and of course there are lots of traditional Indonesian batiks, with their intricate patterns, available, but they didn't tempt me, as I've found them difficult to use in my quilting in any quantity.
A visit to the Singapore Botanic Garden, especially the Orchid Garden, gave me inspirations for a number of future projects and we also visited the World Orchid Conference Show, which featured 50,000 orchids from all over the world. What an amazing show! Words fail me to describe it! Another surfeit of colour with orchids of all sizes, from the tiniest which almost needed a microscope to be seen, to the large showy "corsage" style. My mind is awhirl and I've still almost two months more before we return home in January. I'm sure my sewing machine will be very busy for the rest of the year!
Happy quilting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Something New

It's not November yet, (when I would normally update my blog) even here in Singapore, where we are a day ahead of North America, but I couldn't wait to show off our lovely little granddaughter under her little quilt. In the minutes between cuddling and admiring her, I have managed to make some progress on the appliqued fan blocks that I brought along as a traveling quilting project. There are 26 of them and they will form the border around a printed panel given to me last Christmas, which depicts a Japanese lady holding a fan. Sorry no pictures yet, but I will put it on my blog when I have it all pieced together. In the meantime, the tiny work shown above far surpasses anything else that you might want to see! Isn't she beautiful? Her doting grandparents certainly think so.

Happy quilting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


We've been in Singapore for over a month now for the long awaited birth of our grand-daughter. Although I've been busy sewing - curtains for the nursery, sheets for cradle and crib, and diapers - yes, diapers. Our children are very environmentally conscious and realizing the effect that so-called "disposable" diapers have on the environment, have opted for non-disposables. So grandma has up-dated her skills from the time she sewed diapers for her own little babies and having found some "nappy flannelette" (as they call it here) at a bargain price of one Singapore dollar per metre, got to work.

But even with all the baby preparations, I've managed to connect with a quilter friend from my last visit. Marianne Bos is a quilt artist and has produced a variety of beautiful work which you can see on her blog http://www.mariannebos.blogspot/ . Through her I have been able to visit a group of quilters who meet every week. They are the ANZA (Australia and New Zealand Association) quilters, one of several ex-pat quilt groups who meet here in Singapore. Like quilters everywhere they are a friendly group and it has been a pleasure to sit and sew with them and to see the variety of projects they are working on.

Of course, I never travel without a quilting project of my own, so this has allowed me a quiet space of time for my own work.

As we'll be here for two more months, with a little perseverance, I should be able to finish them before I leave.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What a difference a Month Makes

This photo is quite a change from the dreary picture of my last blog. We've had some spectacular sunsets lately and this is one of them. The improved weather has meant that we've enjoyed some side-trips to towns within a day's drive of Edmonton. The most recent was to Camrose (about an hour's drive) which was celebrating "Founders Days" and among the festivities was an arts and crafts display. I had a lovely time seeing the quilts of the local quilters' guild and chatting with Judy Hoehn who had several of her lovely "multi-fabric" quilts on display. Since I've been trying to use up my own left-over pieces of fabric, I was interested to see the variety of designs which she had used and received more inspiration to continue down that road myself.

Last month's blog showed a multi-fabric work in progress and I'm happy to have it completed. I changed the title to "Blooming Garden" and as you see used a watering can for the centre panel. This was a Quilt-As-You-Go" design of my own, inpired by a number of sources.
I've already prepared a little project to take with me as we travel to Singapore next month to welcome our little granddaughter into the world. I hope to meet some quilters there and be inspired by their work, too. Until next time,

Happy Quilting

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great Weather for Ducks and Quilters

The above picture was taken from my window today. The rain is falling and the lake is rising. We've had one of the rainiest summers of recent years which is bad news for lots of folk, but looking on the bright side, a day like today is good weather for quilting.

So I've continued to work on my quilt in progress, which is another attempt to use up the stash. This quilt (which I've provisionally called Garden Flowers, for lack of something more interesting and because I used mostly floral patterned fabrics) is my own design but derived from a number of different sources. It begins as a disappearing nine-patch and I decided to make it a quilt-as-you-go pattern.

When the nine-patches were sewn and cut into four, I stitched a narrow strip of green along the seam lines of each quarter.

Next I cut same-sized squares of batting and backing and layered the squares together. I stitched along the edge of the green strips and stitched a leaf design in the largest square. This is the back of the block.

The next stage will be to sew the blocks together in rows using sashing strips. Here is part of the layout with strips of fabric laid on the blocks to show you the idea.
There is a centre panel to be made yet. But that will be next month's blog, if I get it done by then. In the meantime, I've lots of keep me busy. If the rain continues I'll have a nice cosy quilt to put in the ark!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Change of Pace

After bingeing on baby quilts for the past two months - six and a half finished and the binding left to do on the seventh- I've turned to something totally different. It's been several years since my little show of fabric landscapes. These are not quilts, but use fabric to make small (5x7 inch)landscape scenes. I've put them in note cards to be given to special people, but in the future I hope to make mini-landscape quilts, or perhaps, postcards. It's fun to be back working with fabrics to create an imagined scene or re-create a scene from a photo.
Here are a few that I've finished so far.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cute and Cuddly

With the arrival of the great news of another grandchild on the way, this grandma's immediate response of joy was followed by thoughts of baby quilts. So that's what I've been doing this past month. I've completed six so far and have a couple more to finish. Even for a doting grandmother that may seem excessive, so I hasten to add that not all will be for the new family member. Some will go to The Salvation Army Auxilliary's Harvest Auction, held each October, by which time we will be in Singapore for the birth of our new grandchild. There's nothing like getting a head start! And I have such fun making baby quilts. You will see by the pictures the quilts are quite simple and have a range of styles and colours. We don't yet know whether pink or blue should be the dominant colour, so there's some of each and some different also. Here are a few of them. Click on the image if you would like to see more detail.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Boxcar Buz

While I just managed to get my February blog in under the wire, March has just zipped by with no blog, and here it is, April already. Not that I wasn't busy quilting in March. In fact I was so busy that I didn't have time, (or perhaps, take the time) to update my blog. Two projects occupied my time and space. One is not completed yet, but I'm making progress. The other is finished and you can see it above. Like all quilts it has its own story.

Last fall, a friend showed me the pattern for "Boxcar Buz" as it is called and asked if I could make the wall-hanging for her. Knowing we were going away for several months, I agreed to do it in the new year, if she wasn't in a hurry for it. She smiled at that and said a few more months wouldn't matter as she'd had the pattern for years. Her husband, Gerry, had been a model train enthusiast and one day had come home with the pattern and handing it to his wife said, hopefully, "You can make this, can't you?" Her response was along the lines of "You must be joking." She was not a quilter and realized that this project was not for her. So the pattern got packed away and almost forgotten, until she came upon it years later after her husband had passed away. Gerry had been a good friend of ours, so I was happy to take on the challenge. As I worked, many memories of the fine man he was and the good times we had shared came to mind. When I struggled with a difficult part, or accepted that my work wasn't going to be perfect, I thought if Gerry could see it, his keen eye would see its deficiencies, but, gentleman that he was, he probably wouldn't say anything about it.

Reading the information that came with the pattern from Crystal Clear Designs, I learned that the pattern was created in memory of another railroad buff by his daughter.

With its many small pieces, it was a challenge, but I'm glad to have done it and also glad that it's done.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quilting Encounters Downunder

Auckland, New Zealand
After spending two months in the balmy summer weather of Australia and New Zealand, where the temperatures were around 30 deg. C, it was a bit of a shock to come back to Edmonton's biting winter cold and temperatures closer to minus 30 deg. C. But from a quilter's viewpoint, having less incentive to go out and more time at home is a plus. Having been away from my quilting "studio" for so long, I was eager to get back (especially since my carry-on bag was full of fabric which wouldn't fit into my already bulging suitcase). So less than 24 hours after I arrived home, the fabric was all washed and I was starting work on a new project. (More about that in a later blog.)
However, my two months "Downunder" were not without some quilting related experiences. As you would imagine, I visited quilt shops wherever I saw them, and found that in spite of the high cost of quilting cottons, most of which are imported, there are many very enthusiastic and accomplished quilters in both Australia and New Zealand.
In Port Stephens, about a 3-hour drive north of Sydney, a group of quilters were meeting at the Community Arts Centre the day we visited there. When I met them and explained that I was a quilter from Canada, they immediately asked me to join them. Some of them had visited Canada and another was excited about her plans to visit the Houston Quilt Show. I spent a very happy time comparing notes, looking at their projects, and generally enjoying myself, until my patient husband looked in the door and I knew it was time to move on.
In Whitianga, on the Coromandel peninsula in New Zealand, at an outdoor market, a stall full of brightly coloured quilts caught my eye and I stopped to talk to the owner. Her eye-catching quilts were priced at a very reasonable figures and when I remarked on this, she explained that she kept her prices low so she would sell her quilts more quickly, as there were so many more patterns she wanted to try. In fact that was the only reason she had the stall at all!
In the tiny town of Bungendore, NSW, where we'd stopped for a tea-break and a walk round, we found "Bungendore Country Patchwork". In Devonport, Auckland I was delighted to see fabrics with New Zealand motifs in "Cushla's Village Fabrics."
In Taupo, NZ, it was
"Clever Hands, The Patchwork Quilt Store"
which enticed me in.
'"Nancy's" in Wellington had a great selection of quilting and embroidery supplies. In all of these delightful shops, it was a pleasure to chat with the friendly staff (who were sometimes the owners) and I couldn't leave any of them without at least a token purchase to add to my stash.

So, here I am with happy memories of a wonderful trip, more fabrics to enjoy and plenty of ideas for future quilts. What more could a quilter want? Well, a little warmer temperatures would be nice!